Formula of failure (and why it works)


Very few achieve success. It’s the sad truth, and social media makes the fact even sadder. By virtue of its omnipresence, you constantly see, hear, and read that someone has managed to achieve incredible success. Someone, but not you.

Actually, it’s simple. There is a formula of failure, and if you don’t happen to be a member of the Royal family, chances are it works for you with high-order likelihood.

Imagine that your dream (goal, wish) is a multi-level game. You start going towards reaching that goal, beat the first level, the second, the third. You are determined. Your willpower is made of steel. But the levels get harder and harder. Usually it takes you 3 tries to beat a level. The final level of the game will take you, let’s say, 15 tries, and the 15th one will be successful. That’s where you can test you frustration threshold (the maximum number of failed attempts that can’t stop you from trying again). The more committed the person, the higher their frustration threshold. In our example, if your FT is less than 14, you will give up on this level. You were so close to reaching your goal.

Here’s a real life example. In her recent commencement speech to Tulane University graduates, TV host Hoda Kotb has told the story of getting her first job. She got rejected 27 times in a row, she heard 27 no’s in 10 days. But she decided to have the 28th interview. And it was a success. If her frustration threshold had been less than 27, she would have come back home, feeling like a failure. But she has reached her goal.

I watched her 20-minute speech twice. It was the most motivational 40 minutes in my life.

So, what number would you put in your formula?

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